Rock and roll helps us rise above the political madness: interview with Liza and Emir

By communications trainee Marina

Emir and Milizza are the directors of Mitrovica Rock School. They work hard in the office scheduling programs and activities. Both Emir and Milizza are very busy people, but they gave up some of their time for an interview to tell us about their job, the Rock School, plans for the future and many other things. Read what they had to say down below!

What’s your job in the Mitrovica Rock School and what was the motivation to work there?

Liza: “Since the start of Mitrovica Rock School I was involved in its activities indirectly, and was attending all the events I was invited to and very supportive and fond of it. When in 2016 there was an open call for the position of the project coordinator, I saw this as a great opportunity to be part of the School, so I immediately applied and was very lucky to be offered the position. Now I am covering all the operational areas of the school as Director of Operations.

“Working at the Rock School, you really see the impact the school has on the city. Seeing such results and changes is very motivating, especially the will of all the people involved in the school that despise the division, difficulties and politics – they just want to work together make music form bands, become friends, and that’s very inspiring and important.”

Why do you think Rock School is important to Mitrovica, and especially it’s youth?

“The Rock School is important for the city because it is a unique school and it offers a completely different program compared to public schools and other music courses which are mostly focused on classical music. Whereas the Rock School offers lessons not limited to pop and rock genres, band coaching and songwriting, where all Rock School mixed bands are writing only original songs, promoting them by offering opportunities to perform publicly, to record songs, music videos and albums.”           

What are the plans for this year?

“The plans for this year include the continuation of our regular school program. Including training weeks for mixed bands, mixed workshops, mixed band concerts etc. But this year except for the summer school we will have also some joint training weeks in sound engineering with Roma Rock School and Music Enterprise.”

What did the involvement in Rock School change for you personally?

“The Rock School has had a considerable impact on me personally: it improved my leadership skills, networking skills, and I was able to travel, which led to cultural growth, new experiences, new friendships and partnerships.”

What do people of Mitrovica who are not involved with Rock School think about it?

“The people that I know are very happy to a Rock School in their city that is active in music education. They respect the School and are very supportive of it, they see it as something that contributes in the development of the city’s culture and brings back to it the fame as the city of rock music in Kosovo.”

Emir, how did you started working in Rock School?

Emir: “My main motivation to join the Mitrovica Rock School a long time ago was that it was the only place in Mitrovica that offered a good and positive environment for musicians. Throughout these years, my role at the Rock School changed a lot. I started as a trainee junior teacher, now I work as a Director of Programs, and I teach vocals, keys, theory, and sound engineering, and I’m a band coach.

“My motivation always grows when I see this big impact of the school on the town, and all the people that need some place like this in their life.”

Why do you think people should join the school and why do you consider it important to Mitrovica?

“It is important on lot of different levels. It offers a good music program for young musicians to work on their music, skills and individuality. We are trying to make a space where anyone will be accepted as who they are and where they can develop and improve their self in directions they would like, with a support of best active musicians from this town.

“Beside the regular program of the school they get to meet a lot of new people/musicians through other programs like band camps, workshops, and training weeks, and share experiences.

“Meeting new people, exploring new musical worlds and creating new music, puts students above the current political madness and opens up a different view on lot of things in life.”

Should we look forward to some MRS happenings this year?

“There are lot of exciting plans at the Rock School for this year. Besides the lesson program , we will have opportunity for lot of joint activities with Musicians without Borders, Fontys Rockacademie, Roma Rock School (Skopje) and Music School Enterprise (Skopje). And, we are building up a new professional recording studio.”

Did the school affect you in any way?

“The Mitrovica Rock School had a big impact on my life. I grew with it, it affected me both personally and professionally.”

And for the last, do your citizens support the school?

“Over these 10 years the support was constantly growing among people in Mitrovica. A lot of people are highly supportive, they love the idea and work we are doing here at the Mitrovica Rock School. It means a lot to us, it helps us go forward trying to make this place bit better with a good music scene, as it used to be. “